Monday, November 30, 2009


Thanksgiving Day began like any other, with a flurry of cooking and conversation.  Around noon, we found a break in the action between the turkey baking and the sweet potato marshmallows browning to exchange gifts since we wouldn't see Hubby's family over Christmas.  It was here that things took a turn toward all things "beyond."

Hubby and I had chosen smaller-than-usual, but meaningful gifts for each of them.  I've been known to go a bit overboard with Christmas gifts in the past, but I'm determined to stick to the budget this year as we prepare for whatever next year brings us.  Luckily, both families understand.  And, of course, sometimes the thought that went into the gift makes the difference anyway.  Other times, both the thought, and the gift itself, blow you away.  That was how we felt when we opened the ILs gift to us...a check that will cover a good chunk of the differential where my and our HRA leave off.  We were beyond grateful.

A little while after the gift exchange, our dear friends and their three-year-old daughter, E, joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. They are very much like family to us, and proving to be even more so all the time! So much so, that we've wholeheartedly and humbly agreed to raise E as our own if something were ever to happen to them. They are wonderful, genuine and generous.  They also have been down the IF road before and just "get it."  Sometimes, often actually, we don't even have to say what we're feeling for them to understand.  In fact, it almost feels more like a brother (to Hubby) and SIL relationship than "just" friends.  "Friends" just isn't descriptive enough.  They have always and continue to go beyond that.

As is usual when they come to visit, Hubby and A stepped out to the patio to smoke a cigar (or two).  During that conversation, A asked how things were going on the fertility front.  Hubby gave him the update that we're heading towards IUI or IVF early next year and that all signs point to IVF.  He said that we were just trying to get a few more of our "financial ducks in a row" before we moved on to IVF. 

It was next statement that left us beyond words for the second time that day.  They offered to loan us the difference where the insurance and HRA left off.  There was no sales pitch, no "ask" from us.  It was entirely unsolicited.  It's one thing to ask parents, another altogether to ask friends.  Likewise, that minor detail makes the offer that much more amazing and humbling.  I'm still shocked, amazed, humbled, just truly beyond words at the generosity of our friends and family.  If their offer never comes to fruition...if it turns out to be too good to be true, or if we turn out not even to need and/or take it, that's okay.  In this case, the offer speaks volumes and that generosity will never be forgotten. 

By Thanksgiving night, we were once again heading towards the IVF clinical trial, that we had previously written off for not being financially feasible quite yet, and hopeful that this time next year there might be another little somebody at the Thanksgiving table, albeit in utero.  It is for the shared hope that the gifts represent, more than the gifts themselves, that I remain beyond thankful....thankful for the hope, the friends, the family, the blessing, and beyond.

Nutshell Thanksgiving

I'm not even sure where to start with recapping our Thanksgiving week.  It was amazing in so many ways!  We actually did Christmas with Hubby's family last week, too, so we took to calling it Thanksmas.  We decorated the house for Christmas a bit early this year to surprise MIL.  Despite the early date, the Christmas Spirit was alive and well at our house, and it wasn't just because of the decorations (though, I'm getting ahead of myself now).

Our pre-Thanksgiving festivities on Wednesday included excellent results from our DNA Fragmentation testing!  What a wonderful way to start the holiday!

The rest of the week was filled with wonderful family, amazing friends, great food and some good shopping.  I came out of the week with renewed hope and a full heart.  I'm going to stop now because the big news of the week deserves its own post or two. 

I will say this, though...God has blessed us with amazing friends and family.  I am awed by them and Him.  What seemed far a few days ago now seems very near.  I am thankful...actually, thankful doesn't even begin to cover it...for those we love and who love us.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SA #5 (Updated!)

Update:  The DNA Fragmentation came back at 12%!  That's apparently "exceptional" according to both the RE and the resources many of your provided (thanks for those, by the way!).  Yay for something about the swimmers being a-ok!  So, that's the good news.  The bad news is that they ended up not running counts, motility or morphology, much to my dismay.  We had even specifically requested it after the confusion at the lab that morning.  They still decided not to run them.  Not too happy about that miscommunication/misunderstanding.  But, very pleased about the DNA Fragmentation results.  RE f/u in 4 days!

I hate SA days.  Hate is a strong word, but I think it fits.  DH prefers to do his "collection" at home rather than at "the room."  And, he prefers to do it without help.  Only once have we had "technical difficulties" that required a reschedule.  Nonetheless, I head off to work on the morning of SAs full of anxiety about misjudged distances and the like.  Then, there's the waiting for results...

I'm happy to say that there were not any technical difficulties.  The sample is safely at the RE's office this morning.  I expected for Hubby to call with count and motility numbers like last time (the DNA fragmentation and morphology will take longer).  No dice.  They didn't give him the numbers and it was Hubby's understanding that they were really just focusing on the morphology and DNA fragmentation.  The sample intake form clearly states that we're paying for DNA fragmentation with full sperm analysis.  We had to pay $25 extra for the morphology.  Though I don't understand what part of "full sperm analysis" doesn't include morphology, I'm fine with the extra $25.  It's worth it to know if we're sticking near 2%, or if 2% was a fluke.  Hubby made a good decision there.

Then, the RE's office called back to say that we already had morphology done, so we didn't need another one.  WTF?  Thankfully, Hubby made another good decision by saying that we'd like to go ahead and have it run anyway.  Whew!  Point for the Hubby; Fumble for the RE!  Seriously...

So, I'm not sure if we'll be getting count and motility later in the day when they call with the DNA fragmentation results...or not.  And, I'm not sure if morphology will come then or seven days later, like last time.  I'm confused.  And, I don't like being confused on SA days (or in general, really); they're crappy enough as it is.  Yep, I still hate SA days!

Request: Can anyone point me in the direction of good information on this DNA fragmentation test?  I want to have an idea of what to expect when they call with the results.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Recipe Swap!

It's that time of year...friends and family gathered around a table sharing memories and breaking bread together.  Oh, and we mustn't forget the copious amounts of Thanksgiving staples piled high on that table.  So, the SassyIF Lady and Stirrup Queens' posts this week got me thinking...what are your Thanksging staples?  And, what recipes would you like to share?

Here's what will be on theThanksgiving table at my house this week:

Appetizers: (Feel free to share your quick and easy recipes here...I need a couple more!)
White Bean Dip with Pita Chips and Veggies (I add lots of lemon to this recipe)

Main Course:
Roasted Turkey with Citrus Rosemary Salt
Brown Sugar Spiral-Sliced Ham (the result of a family dispute...silly boys!)

Mashed Potatoes with Carmelized Onions
Sweet Potatoes with crispy marshmallow crust
Cranberry Jell-o Mold with fresh fruit
Green Bean Casserole

Spicy Pumpkin Pie
Ooey Gooey Chocolate Butter Cake
Cranberry Chiffon Pie

And, while this one isn't for our Thanksgiving table, it certainly could be!  I made it for my coworkers today and it was a big hit.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

See anything were missing?  See a recipe you'd like?

Now, here's my entry for the recipe MIL's Spicy Pumpkin Pie.  It's no ordinary pumpkin pie.  It's got that perfect combination of sweet cinnamon and spicy ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg.  I'm a pumpkin pie fanatic this time of year and this recipe has become the tried-and-true, "classic with a touch of spice" pie that everyone requests at our Thanksgiving table.  Enjoy!

MIL's Spicy Pumpkin Pie
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

1 16-ounce can pumpkin
1 13-ounce can evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1-1/2 tsps. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat pumpkin with remaining ingredients until well mixed. Place pie plate on oven rack. Pour pumpkin mixture into pie crust; bake 15 minutes; turn oven to 350 degrees and bake 35 minutes more or until filling is set (knife inserted in middle comes out clean. (I always cover the crust with foil during baking because it usually gets too brown. If you are doing this without crust, no problemo!) Cool and serve topped with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

Share your special, must-have recipes (be they traditional, or not) either here, or on your blog!

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Vacancy

There’s apparently no room left in my “emotional spaces” for much else other than IF. My brain is constantly worrying about the “what if’s” and “what next’s;” my heart aches at the sight I wasn't aware of just how much space that "stuff" was taking up until last week. And, even more troubling, I don't exactly know what the "stuff" is.

For example, take last week's job application/interview experience. I had that overwhelming dread about another "guaranteed" no. Another example from last week...on Sunday night, before the job craziness started, I got an e-mail from BFF. For her birthday in September, Hubby and I had given her a giftcard from a local photographer for maternity pictures. Her Sunday night e-mail contained a link to 232 maternity pictures and a request that I look through them and let her know which ones I liked.

Even before the stress of last week unfolded, I knew that I needed to be at a certain emotional place to look through 232 maternity pictures...especially considering the somewhat precarious nature of our relationship at the moment. I thought I'd be able to find that special mental place at some point on Monday. I didn't really want to end the weekend on a sour note if I wasn’t able to keep it together. Of course, that plan was short-lived because on Monday the job craziness ensued. And, after that, I knew I didn't have the emotional space left over to be reminded of our IF while clicking through 232 screenshots.

I mentioned this to my mom and another trusted friend. My mom suggested that I take all the time I needed, 232 was a lot and it was a tough situation to be in. Trusted Friend said that I should get my mom to tell me her favorites and pass those along to BFF saving myself the emotion of looking through them at all. It wasn't a terrible idea. Not terrible, that is, except for the fact that I want to look at them. I want to be there in that joyful be able to put my "IF" stuff on the shelf and just be a "good friend."

I still haven't looked at the pictures, even though the stress from last week has lifted and there should be more emotional space available. I just can't bring myself to look. I sent her a note last week saying that I hadn't forgotten with a brief synopsis of the week's craziness. And, I said that what was really important to me was that she was happy. Which ones were her favorites? I never heard back.

So, what is this "stuff" that fills my emotional spaces to the point that they can no longer deal so well with the normal (or somewhat abnormal) stress of daily life? It frustrates me that I know that this IF "stuff" takes so much room, but I don't even know what it really is. I want to name it, categorize it, process it and put it away in the emotional archives. There's nothing to archive yet, though. It's too raw, too in the moment.

And, the truth, I guess, is that it's no one thing. No singular feeling or fear that can simply be named and put away. It's some mix of sadness, frustration, jealously, anger, fear and so many other emotions, on so many different levels, all rolled up into a giant ball so big that it leaves so little room for anything else.

The result is that I feel more emotionally fragile now than I have at any other point in my memory, despite the fact that some of the other moments that would make the top 10 list were much easier to categorize. Perhaps it's that unclassifiable nature that's the issue. IF seems to grow and spread like a virus...literally taking over any unaffected emotional spaces until all that's left in my heart, soul and mind is that IF "stuff." It's no wonder that there's seemingly no room left for any extra stress. IF has put up its very own "No Vacancy" sign so that it can infiltrate without interruption.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Giving Thanks for the Weekend (and ICLW)!

Well, thankfully, the weekend finally game...and, even better, I SURVIVED!  This was one of the toughest weeks I've had in awhile.  And, while the vast majority of the stressful things this week were non-IF related, I was stunned at how much IF crept it's way in.

The biggest stressor of this week was the whole job interview craziness.  Besides the fact that everyone already knew who would get the job, it really was a great opportunity for me to get some face time with the VP and just all around good experience.  I knew that from the beginning.  When I really dug deep to figure out why I was so opposed to applying for the exposure and good experience, despite knowin ghow it would end, it came down to IF, in a roundabout sort of way.

In our TTC/IF world, we're almost guaranteed a "no" every month.  That roller coaster of emotions is taxing enough, even when you know how it's going to end.  So, here I was in a similar, yet entirely different situation, and I didn't know if I could sign up for yet another guaranteed "no".  I just didn't know if there was enough emotional space leftover where the IF left off. 

In the end, I'm glad I applied and went through the charade.  It was a worthwhile experience, even though I still have no doubt that M will get the job.  I'm ok with it.  And, I even ended up decide to go see Twilight on Thursday night after all!  Adrenaline kept me going all day until after the interview.  It was a win-win, in the end.

Should find out, officially, which of us got the job early next week.  Not that it will be a surprise, but at least I won't have to wonder, even a little bit, over the Thanksgiving holiday.  As much as last week was awful with all the stress and drama, at least it was ultimately short-lived!
So, this week, I'm thankful for this weekend to regroup and the Thanksgiving weekend to reconnect with family!  I'm also thankful for all of you, my ICLW friends.  How lucky we are that ICLW falls on Thanksgiving week!  Very fitting, if you ask me!

The first half of this post has a very good intro on our story.  And, here's the quick recap on what's happened since then.  We've seen slight improvements in Hubby's morphology (from 0% to 2%), but the overall, everything is still pretty low.  All of our bloodwork is done, including my AMH results that show borderline normal ovarian reserve.  I had a hysteroscopy that revealed a uterus that would (hopefully) accept an ET wonderfully.  Next up, and the last (hopefully) of the diagnostics is Hubby's 5th SA which will include DNA fragmentation testing on 11/25.  Last time it took seven (!) days to get morphology results back from the lab.  I'm really hoping it doesn't take that long this time, but just in case, I scheduled our follow-up consultation at the RE for 12/3. 

My hope is that we'll have an official treatment plan as of a week from Thanksgiving!  I'll be giving thanks for that, as well!  I'm beyond ready to finally feel like we have a shot at this.  We're planning on starting with some IUI cycles, despite the odds, while we save up for an IVF clinical trial that will hopefully be happening at our clinic later in 2010. 

So, that's our story.  Thank you for stopping by!  I truly am thankful for all of you and I'm looking forward to reading all of your stories over the next few days!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not that Show

You know that show on VH1 "Best Week Ever?"  My week does not qualify!  I'll forewarn you that this is a rather ranting/raging post, so feel free to just speed read to the end...or even ignore, that would befit my week!

Remember how last week I found out that my position was being realigned?  Well, my department was hiring a manager for that new team I will be on.  And, the job was only posted internal to my department.  The manager job is so "me."  It's everything I've been aspiring to...a very exciting opportunity.  A few minor details, however.  1)  The VP had already started giving many of the parts of the new job to another manager in the department (while still preaching that everyone has an equal shot). 2) Privately, I can't help but wonder if it's not really six months to a year to early for me, experience-wise, anyway.

So, I had decided that I was not going to apply.  I would just be a happy player on New Manager's bench until the next great opportunity came along, but then I would be ready.  Easy enough.  Made great sense.  And then, yet another person (about the fourth) asked me if I was going to apply. And, my director said that they had made a special exception on the 1-year at the company rule so that I could apply.  Then, my family really started encouraging me to apply.  All the while, I knew the score.  I was applying for a losing battle.  Nonetheless, I was stupid brave enough to apply.

And, every day since I applied and the position closed on Monday has been more and more reminders of why I have no chance.  The VP has continued to give her new tasks that our on the New Manager's list of tasks.  How can I possibly compete with someone who is already doing the job?  And, why on earth do the act like everyone has a fair shot at it when clearly we/I don't?  I feel like the employee relations fall girl...the "check the box," we had two people apply so that it didn't just look like we were giving the to a specific person.  Oh, and the best part is that part of New Manager's role is to be the spokesperson for the department.  The other candidate, the one they've all but promised it to, is the most negative, close-minded, cynical person in the whole department.  Perfect for a spokeswoman, don't you think?

So, I'm busy working away on a strategic plan for the new department, that I won't be leading, for the interview tomorrow.  I'll likely still be working on that tonight before the interview tomorrow.  Two months ago, a friend and I bought tickets to see Twilight tonight.  Looks like no more Twilight for me...

And, to top it all off...the cherry on top of this ridiculously awful week?  BFF posted this to FB today:

Shout out to all the new mommies around me! Dianne, Bryn, Katie and Jennie! And those to come! Michelle, Leann, Josie and Sasha! Looking forward to some great memories :-)

Maybe it's just the incredibly foul mood I'm in (think the fact that I'm on CD4 might have something to do with that), but that post strikes me as ridiculous.  Or maybe it's just that I can't relate to what it must be like to be pregnant and surrounded by wonderfully happy pregnant and/or new moms.

Is this week over yet?  I think I'm about to start waving the white flag on this week...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Call Me Crazy...

...but, does anyone else see what I see:

My grandma called over the weekend to see what we wanted for Christmas.  We could really use a new set of flatware, because the spoons in our current set have gone to war with the garbage disposal (and lost) one too many times.  So, I was looking online at flatware sets just to get an idea of what the options were.  Then, I came across this set.  It's called "Twirl."  I was literally LOL and ROFL and LMAO at the sight of them.  Clearly I spend too much time thinking about the swimmers...sheesh! 

Not quite with me yet?  Does this help?

Sorry in advance to anyone reading this post who may own that flatware set!!

Photos courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond and

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hoping vs. Waiting

Part of my pre-op bloodwork on Thursday was an HCG because I was on CD25 and 10DPO.  Right before the hysteroscopy last Friday, the nurse made a point to say that my HCG had come back negative.  I just laughed.  It wasn't a surprise.  Still, it sucks to know that already, as I sit around waiting for AF to come in the next few days with no hope of a BFP.  This is exactly why I don't early test. 

Even though the 2WW can drive me crazy, it's also still the most hopeful part of every cycle for me.  Despite the odds, for two weeks out of every month, I could be pregnant.  I don't early test because seeing AF for the 209th time in my life is a lot easier than seeing the stark white HPT staring back at me.  I've gotten used to AF's arrival month after month for 17 years (granted, for 16 of those I didn't much mind).  I don't ever want to get used to seeing bright white HPTs.  I'd rather just wait...and hope against the odds.

This cycle, though, there's no more hoping...only waiting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I went to a jewelry party one of the girls from last week's party was hosting.  I had some concerns, but ultimately I enjoyed hanging out with these women, so I decided that I wasn't going to let the IF issues get in the way of making new friends.  I don't regret going, but the wall that IF seemingly causes between us and everyone else only became more clear after tonight.

For starters, this house was decorated to the nines.  It looked like a house you'd see on tv.  It was absolutely beautiful!  And, this couple was about our age.  I try to decorate, but there are two problems.  First of all, I'm indecisive when it comes to decorative accents.  Second, and more importantly, decorating is low on the list of priorities right now.  It used to be that we weren't decorating because we were buying furniture.  Now, we're waiting to decorate because I'd much rather save money for potential IUIs or IVF than buy a picture for the wall.  Don't get me wrong...I love our house, but decorating-wise, it's a little bare bones.  Meanwhile, this couple had managed to decorate to the hilt and have a five-month-old.

But, it wasn't just her.  In fact, most of the women at the party were my age.  Of them, I was the only one who either wasn't pregnant or didn't have a baby already (many at the party also had babies in tow).  I found myself struggling to relate to these women even though I also felt like we should be fast friends. 

I ended up not buying anything at the jewelry party because I just couldn't justify paying $30 on a pair of earrings I might only wear a few times while the money and IF situations are what they are.  But, I also felt guilty for not buying...I wanted to clear the air, to explain that we were saving for explain that we were having trouble conceiving as a way to excuse any not-quite-right reactions to babies and/or moms that I might have unknowingly made.  Most of all, I wanted to explain  away the white elephant in the room...except, of course, that I was the only one who had even the faintest idea that he was there.

Up until now, my experiences with the IF wall have been with singular relationships (namely BFF, or preggo boss).  This was one of the first times that I experienced it in a large group and really felt like the odd woman out.  It was the strangest feeling, like I could feel the bricks going up one-at-a-time between us.  I looked around and saw all these women my age, some younger, in this beautiful house and I felt that fast forward feeling again.  I'm now acutely aware that we're being left behind, despite the fact that I also know that this is the path we're supposed to be on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Perfect Uterus! we just have to figure out how to get a baby or two in there!!!

Cross the hysteroscopy off the list.  We're one step closer to whatever treatments are coming our way.  Dr. K said that my uterus looked perfect and, if we go that route, he should have no problem doing the transfer.

The RE has a surgery center right at the clinic.  And, the surgery staff really did renew my faith in the entire RE's office.  They were absolutely wonderful! 

On that note, I told Hubby about my concerns with the office, but between him talking me into staying and the surgery experience today, we're going to hang on a bit longer.  Hubby reminded me that, while it's a little further from home (though he showed me a shortcut on that today, too), it's closer to work which will be hand for lunchtime monitoring appointments.  He's also resistent to switching because he doesn't want to get the "we need an SA from our own lab" speech again, especially if we're just going to switch back in a few months time.  So, for now, the RE's office should consider themselves on warning, but we're not going anywhere.

I was feeling really good in the recovery area, like suprisingly good!  About the time we were getting home, though, I definitely started to feel the anesthesia after effects.  Four hours later, I woke up and am feeling pretty much fine now!  This was so much easier than the recovery after my laparoscopy in March!

Sorry this post was a bit all over the place...we'll blame that on the anesthesia, too! ;-)  Here's a pic and a chuckle to end this colorful toe socks were a big hit at the surgery center today!  They said bring warm socks and these were the warmest I had.  Plus, they make me (and apparently everyone else) smile!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mostly Uneventful Pre-Op

Just got back from my pre-op for tomorrow's hysteroscopy.  It was uneventful, except that they took more blood.  I'm beginning to realize this is just part of going to the RE...if they can draw your blood, they probably will!  I think I'll be a pro at this by the time we're done!  In fact, after I got back from my first RE appointment where they had taken 8 large vials, I was talking to my preggo boss about it and she said, "Oh, just wait until you get pregnant, you'll be a pin cushion."  I laughed and assured her that I'd likely be a pin cushion long before that!

I know that my body doesn't like anesthesia very much, so I expect to be pretty groggy and weak for until at least sometime Saturday.  Should be a relaxing, recuperating weekend and then back to the grind on Monday.  Next up is the 11/25 SA followed by a yet to be scheduled follow-up, "finally get the plan" appointment, which should be sometime in early December.

Meanwhile, I'm contemplating changing REs.  Yes, I'm ridiculous, but here's why.  The only reason we picked this clinic was because of the clinical trial(s).  We're passing up the current  trial and the next trial isn't slated to start until second quarter, at the earliest.  I think I've probably said before that I'm willing to cut this clinic a lot of slack because I know that, if we can do a trial, it will be so much cheaper.  That said, if we know we're not doing the trial now, we can find a good RE closer to home who's IUIs are a bit cheaper. 

More than that, though, I just don't know that I'm pleased with the "feel" of this clinic.  The nurses are wonderful, for the most part, and Dr. K is very knowledgeable with an "ok to good" bedside manner...but, everyone else is sort of non-responsive.  In the beginning, I had to reschedule my initial consult, so I called the new patient coordinator and left a message asking her to call me back.  After waiting four days, I finally asked the front desk if they could reschedule it instead.  Luckily, they did.  At the initial consult, there were some things that left me less than pleased after our discussion with the billing specialist (unanswered questions after repeated attempts to get them answered).  More recently, I realized that I didn't know what time my hysteroscopy was scheduled for, so I called the surgery coordinator and left her a message.  Never heard back. 

Those kinds of things are unacceptable to me.  The nurses and doctor are great, but if the team isn't strong, the patient experience isn't either.  So, I'm just wondering...if we change to a smaller clinic, closer to home until the next trial starts if it will be worth it.  Or, more trouble than it's worth for just 6 months or so.

My brain is always contemplating something...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


You might notice that there are some format changes happening here today.  I've been wanting to switch over to a three-column format for awhile because I was accumulating more and more buttons for the sidebar. I couldn't ever find easy enough to understand instructions, though (on that note, I highly recommend Three Column Blogger for help with the transition).  What finally pushed me over the edge?

Well, for starters, I've noticed that the tone of my posts lately have been a little bleak.  The tone here definitely ties to my real-life tone and I could use a bit of an attitude adjustment, I think.  In the spirit of Veteran's Day and with Thanksgiving nearly upon us, I wanted to add a sidebar gadget about "What I'm thankful for today..."  I think that by thinking about that everyday (and writing it here), I'll be more inclined to see the good all around me, rather than just the not-so-good IF stuff.

So, check out the top right sidebar gadget each day to see "what I'm thankful for today."  And, feel free to join in, either in the comments, or with your own sidebar gadget.

Reality Sets In

I'm pretty sure we've been living in a dream world. Or, I have anyay...and Hubby? Well, he's been living in a "don't won't to hurt her feelings, just want her to be any cost" world.

I think it's a symptom of Hubby's depression; he often spends money and/or avoids dealing with money situations when he's feeling particularly bad. In reality, I've known that for awhile, but I trusted that he could handle it. That was my dream world. I should have been more involved from the beginning. And, even though, we often talk about a more team approach, we relatively quickly end up retreating to our comfortable roles instead. Now, I even wonder if we should abandon the team approach to our finances and just have me be the point person (and idea rhat really scares me).

We should be older and wiser by now. We should have figured all of this out before now. We've been at the brink before and managed to survive, but I can't say we came out unscathed. However, the sad part is that apparently we never learned the right lessons. So, sure we were trying to sell our house for 17 months and did a massive cross-country move last year. I guess, some financial unrest would be understandable. And, if it had all started there, it would be one thing. But, the problems are old...and we don't appear to be any wiser. I guess the first part of our path to wisdom is admitting that there's a problem. But, beyond that, we're definitely not any wiser yet.

How does this all relate to IF? As you might imagine, despite Hubby's glowing reassurances that we'd find a way to pay for the IVF trial if it was what I wanted to do (and don't even get me started on that choice of words), the truth is that we can't. Or, that we'd be crazy to, to be more accurate. I'm not against a natural IUI in January/February (thanks to my new treatment insurance for next year), but anything beyond that seems ill-advised at the moment (and even that seems less than wise, except for the emotional gain of feeling like we've got a few more percentage points chance that month).

We've got to figure out how to dig out of this whole we've created for ourselves first. When it comes our finances, I'm generally over-pessimistic, but Hubby is WAY over-optimistic. The fact is that despite his reassurances, I don't see a light at the end of this tunnel, at least not any time soon. Hopefully it's not really as bad as all that, but we certainly are way overdue for learning some valuable spending and budgeting lessons.

So, I'm not sure where this really leaves us treatment-wise. We're moving ahead with my hysteroscopy on Friday. I suspect that the 5th SA and follow-up with the RE are all still on, as well. But, beyond that (and maybe some natural IUIs), we may have to hold off for a bit. I'm just not sure if "a bit" is a month or two...or more.  And, I really dislike that unknown.

It's a precarious balance..."all the ducks in a row before the babymaking begins."  Or, "start the family and the rest will follow."  I'm just not sure what that balance looks like for us anymore.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The 2% Moved my Cheese

An update on my slightly tipsy Saturday night post...I woke up Sunday morning with barely a headache.  I think I just felt a bit worse than I really was because I didn't have much food the last hour or so.  All in all, it was a fun, well worth it, time!

Tying up lose ends from last week, we FINALLY got the morphology results!  As the title suggests, it was 2% normally shaped.  As the lab technician so eloquently put it "that's still abnormal," but it's our best yet.  We're now leaning towards some IUIs early next year before moving on to IVF.  Improving morph is one reason, finances are another, but I'll save that for a different post.

Finally, you'll recall that I was expecting some news on "exciting updates" at work yesterday.  Well, it was about what I figured.  My job scope will increase (ultimately a good thing), my title will change (a great thing), but my manager will also be changing (this makes both me and my manager sad!)...and no one can tell me whether or not it will be a lateral move or a grade level increase.  I'm still hoping for the latter.  Even if not right now, though, I'm assured that it will happen soonSoon is a relative term, though.  All in all, it was a rather anti-climactic meeting with a lot of build-up for mostly nothing. 

I'm excited about the changes, but not excited about the manager change.  Not the least of the reasons why is that now I'll have to re-explain the IF situation to the new boss.  Luckily, that person, though not officially named yet, will be someone I already work with who I think will be understanding and flexible.  Still not looking forward to rehashing it, though.

So, my cheese got moved at work-- better in the long-term, a bit painful in the short-term.  And, I suppose, in some ways, the 2% morph results moved our IF cheese, too, though in a good way.  It just kind of caused us to re-evaluate and be a little more encouraged to give IUI a chance.  I guess it also potentially falls into the "better in the long-term, a bit painful in the short-term" category, though. 

Ever get that feeling where you really need something (anything?!) to just be quick and easy?  That's kind of how I feel this week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A bit too much...

So, Hubby and a I went to a party that Hubby's former boss was throwing this evening for some friends of theirs in the neighborhood. We weren't from the neighborhood, but we were new to the neighborhood. We had a blast.

Near the end of the party, I found myself sitting at the dining room table with four other wonderful women. Two of them were empty nesters with youngest kids in college or older. Two were mothers to three to five month olds. The husbands were all outside talking about manly things. The women were inside talking about motherly things. I heard about how the one baby had cysts that turned out to be caused by the mother's hormones. I just laughed at the funny jokes and poured another glass of wine. I heard about how the second baby's dad didn't know immediately that she was a girl because she was so swollen, due to hormones, right after delivery. I just laughed. I found out that one of the empty nesters only had one "and-a-half" ovaries, but the time didn't seem right to inqure further.

Once I even decide to test the waters with a "getting pregnant isn't what the teach us in PE" comment.  Both of hte new mothers heard comments about how pregnancy, not conceiving, wasn't like PE.  I knew what I was dealing with then, and just had another glass.

I just went along with all the new mom conversations, because I was really enjoying hanging out with these women, despite the problematic subject. I went along and had another glass of wine...and another. Next thing I knew, I'd had a bit too much.

For the record, I'm almost ALWAYS the designated driver. This time, without even a conversation, the Hubby knew that it was his turn to be the DD. It was definitely a good thing, too, because I definitely had too much. It's so nice to hang out with non-judgemental people, but I guess I would've rather them known why the conversation at hand was a bit difficult for me. Oh to sleep tonight; headache in the morning, I'm sure.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In Its Own Divine Time

Three things for this post...all which will happen "in their own divine time," as Hubby reminded me yesterday.

Issue number one...Hubby and I talked a bit about yesterday's issue. I sincerely thank each of you that offered your thoughts and thought processes. We left things in the "think on it" category. Exactly where I expected them to be, and exactly where they should be for where we are in the process. I should also add that after our conversation tonight we're leaning a bit more toward a few IUIs and then perhaps the next IVF clinical trial sometime after first quarter 2010. But, when the RE shares with us the percentages of successful IUI, I may change my mind on this...again. In time all of that will be clear, I trust,
Issue number two...I'm fuming about the fact that we're still waiting on the morphology results from last Saturday's SA. Perhaps we've just been spoiled by the uro who could get us results, all of them-- including morphology, in an hour or two. But, seven days later seems more than excessive...and unacceptable. We've called a few times; they just haven't gotten to it yet. I guess it comes down to this: If they're going to take seven days to tell us it's another 0% normal, I will be even more PO'd. However, if the results are better, they can take all the time they need to count the little guys.
Finally, issue number three...This is the one that Hubby actually said "all its own divine time."  Ironically, it has absolutely nothing to do with TTC.  Though he didn't say it, I do think he thought it was a message that wouldn't hurt to be applied to more than just one aspect of our current lives.  It's a message I can often stand to be reminded of.  Patience is not my forte.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand...On Thursday, my manager was called into a meeting with our director, the two other directors from our department and the VP to discuss "changes, all good changes, coming to the department."  I just had a hunch this was going to have something to do with me.  Sure enough, on Friday I came into work to find a meeting request for Monday with the same group (manager, three directors and the VP) to discuss "exciting updates" coming our way. 

My department is sort of in the midst of a reorganization and I've been openly pulling for cross utilization of my role since the beginning.  I suspect this meeting has something to do with that.  It's almost certainly a positive thing for me.  I'm expecting anything from a promotion to a title increase to a job diversification without promotion or title increase.  Any of them would be a step in the right direction (though I'd prefer either of the former to the latter).  My biggest concern, though, is it may include a change in managers, which is something I'll be pretty disappointed about.  My manager and I have a great working relationship; I don't want to give that up just yet.

So, just to prove to you all what a worrier I I sit on Saturday morning worried about undoubtedly good news I'm (hopefully) going to receive around lunch time on Monday.  Such a silly girl!  This is about the time Hubby said that whatever the change is, it will be positive, and though my path may not be the one I expected, it will all happen "in its own divine time."  Since we did he get to be so philosophical, you ask?  It was something his grandma used to remind him.  Wise hubby; Wise grandma!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Donor Discussion

I started writing this post a few weeks ago as a way of putting this idea to rest.  I thought that if I wrote it down, I could release it.  That's sort of how writing works for me.  I file it away here so that I can start to process it in the scope of the rest of my day/life/journey.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  This time, it's still haunting me.

From the beginning, long before we ever knew for sure that we were dealing with IF, back when we just knew that the odds were high based on family history, we said that all options would be on the table.  We've always been open to adoption, if it came to that, but it was always imagined as the last option on the journey. 

I had never really thought or considered donor sperm until we got the official IF diagnosis and I started reading blogs and message boards.  I brought it up once then.  In the beginning, before the full scope had set in for Hubby, he had indicated that it was something we could consider.  In his mind, it was the option before adoption.  After all biological means failed, we'd try donor, then adoption. 

That made sense to me, too, for awhile.  But, when it came time to actually start seriously moving toward IVF, I couldn't help but wonder if donor sperm was a "better" choice for us.  At first my definition of better was comprised mostly of the fact that it was so much cheaper.  I brought the subject up again after our trip to the RE last week.  Hubby pretty quickly said that he'd like to try IVF first.  So be it, I thought, and I wanted to file the though away.  Thought considered and rejected.  Move on.  After all, it wasn't my biological link we'd be foregoing.  How far could I really push it?  Biology trumps cost any day.

But, I haven't been able to file it away.  It's sort of lurking in the outer recesses of my thought patterns lately.  I can't process it.  If it were just the cost differential, I think I could lay the thought to rest.  To be honest, Hubby and I haven't always spent our money as wisely as we should.  If there were any place to overspend, this certainly seems like it.  There's more to it than that, though.

Remember in this post when I talked about the moment when my mother-in-law vividly remembers hoping beyond hope that her sons would never have to experience the pain that depression had caused her and my father-in-law?  I know that there's no hard evidence that depression is genetic, but Hubby's family may be the case study.  Looking back, my in-laws are now fairly certain that Hubby's grandpa suffered from chronic depression.  My father-in-law, brother-in-law and, of course, Hubby do, as well.  Clearly, there's a prevalence of depression on the male side of the lineage. 

And, this isn't the "pop a Prozac" and it's gone kind.  This is the "take multiple anti-depressants and still suffer" kind.  This is the "deal with it everyday" kind; the "sometimes depression rules our life" kind.  I talked in that same post about both the toll the depression takes and the strength we gain from it.  But, the bottom line is that I still wouldn't wish it on anyone, let alone our own son.

I feel like we have an opportunity to end the cycle.  I don't want us to have to wonder if our future son will have to battle the same internal demons or if his future wife will have to carry the same burden.  I know there's no guarantee.  The donor could have a similar prevalence in his family.  But, if we have the opportunity to try, shouldn't we take it?

So, I feel like I should bring up the subject again with Hubby this weekend.  I feel like I should lay this new wrinkle out for discussion.  I struggle with how to bring it up, because it's one thing to say that it's a cost factor.  That's something we can work through.  It's something entirely different to point out that his very biology is the problem.  And, the thought of pointing that out, though it will be more of a reminder than a surprise, pains me. 

Then, I struggle with how we compromise on this.  It's not my genetics, my biological link, at stake.  If he still says he'd rather not, at least not now, am I ok with that?  I feel like I can only push it so far.  But, how far?  And, what are the ramifications of choosing donor?  I can't even begin to imagine all of the issues that we'd have to consider, both now and later. 

I'm not even sure how ready I am to put that option on the table, but it seems like something we should consider before moving to IVF and I'm sure we haven't given it its fair share of discussion time yet.  Here's the running list of pros and cons in my head:
Chance to end the cycle of depression
Lower cost

No biological link to Hubby

That con is a huge one.  I just can't process it.  Biology may trump cost, but when biology is the issue, we find ourselves back at square one.

So, blog friends, I need your help.  I know that many of you have considered, conceived, or are moving down the path of using donor sperm.  How did you decide?  How did you broach that conversation with DH?  What did your pros and cons list look like?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fast Forward

Feels a little bit like someone hit the fast forward button on our life around here lately. Scratch feels like someone hit the fast forward button on our friends' lives while ours sit at a standstill, just going through the motions.

Nine months ago, we were gearing up for my laparoscopy. (I struggle with what exactly to count as our first month TTC because we were immediately put on hold to wait for my laparoscopy in January, so we couldn't officially start until March.) Either way, we were excited and ready to get started and a little apprehensive about what might be found during the lap. At that point, an acquaintance of ours through BFF announced that she was pregnant with her first, on the first try. I was thrilled for them. It gave me hope...I didn't really believe that first try BFPs could happen. That belief didn't seem to coexist with the gut feeling I had, even then (way before then actually), that it wouldn't happen that way for us, but it still gave me hope.

Eight months ago, on the very day of my post-op when we finally got the all clear to officially start TTC, BFF called to announce her BFP, another first try. This one was more complicated. I was ecstatic, head-over-heels happy for them, but it was tempered by a few things. First, that we got to enjoy our own TTC all-clear news for a total of about 2 hours before it got blown out of the water. Second, that this order of events, that we didn't even get to share TTC for even a month, was tough for me to handle. We had talked for such a long time about being TTC together, though I also was also glad she didn't have to experience a BFN or worse news on her journey. Third, and overarching, I couldn't shake the feeling that we would still be trying in December. The odds of us being the third first try in as many months seemed remote, to say the least.

Seven months ago, my boss got married....and conceived on her honeymoon, another first try. Three months later she announced, though I saw it coming from a mile away. She had been pretty open about her desire for a honeymoon baby and had even mentioned one time in passing that she was ovulating that weekend. My preggo spidey sense was tingling when she had a doctor's appointment almost exactly four weeks later and came in late due to an "upset tummy" a few weeks after that. It was no surprise at all to me when she announced.

And yet, that news on the very same day of some particularly insensitive words from BFF, added up to what was probably the second hardest day of our journey so far (the first being the day we got the first SA results from the nurse). It was probably the closest thing to a panic attack I've ever experienced. Luckily, I have an office with a door and it happened at lunch time when I could escape for some air without being seen. The boss' first try BFP solidified for me what I had already known. We were in this for the long haul. The odds were against us...three first try BFPs in our life? Seriously? Someone has to be the one in four dealing with an IF situation, right? Lucky us (all of us, that is...and yes, that was dripping with sarcasm.).

So, here we are, fast forward nine months. The first of the first tries delivered her beautiful baby boy on Sunday night. I'm thrilled that mother and baby are doing well. The boss' baby shower is this afternoon. And, BFF is set to deliver in just a few short weeks. With all of that, this week has felt a little painful. It occurred to me that in the timespan that these wonderful women in my life both conceived and delivered, we're still trying. Not only are we still trying, we're contemplating IVF and possibly even starting our first cycle.

I know that many of you have been through this many times over, so I know I'm not alone in these feelings. I also know that it's not easy for any of us. I'd like to think that the first is the hardest, but I doubt it. I imagine this will only get more difficult over the next few months until the first try trio have all become wonderful mothers doting beautiful babies in strollers.

I wish I knew how to push the fast forward button on our life, to get to those beautiful moments somewhere in our future. Then again, I know that these tough moments in the middle will make us better parents in the long run. In the back of my head I know that. But, in the forefront this week is a mixture of emotion that I don't much care for...sadness, frustration, jealously, anger, and joy. What's wrong with me when I feel sadness out of joy? No, I don't much care for that at all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Our journey from SAs 1 to 4 feels a bit like a ride on an amusement park roller coaster-- minus all the fun parts, of course. I'm quite certain that we just finished the all important "first drop." I'm just not sure if we're about to start up another hill before another dizzying drop or whether we're just at a mid-coaster "catch your breath" plateau.

Or, maybe I've just been playing too much Roller Coaster Kingdom on FB lately.

In all seriousness, you've probably guessed by now that our most recent SA results (#4) weren't what we'd hoped for. They were a definite dizzying drop from our hope-inducing third results. Count went from 48 million to 11 million; Motility from 38% back down to 24%. We're still waiting on the all important morphology number...the lab expects to get us that info today or tomorrow. Even without the morph, though, the new numbers look much more back in the IVF range than the IUI range we ever so briefly visited.

There's no logical reason for the decrease. DH is still taking the Tamoxifen/Arimidex combo and his testosterone showed back at normal levels on his most recent lab work. The only medicine change is that he stopped taking one of the anti-depressants. If anything, we would have thought that would've had a positive effect on the swimmers. Silly us for ever trying to predict the path the Sperm-O-Coaster would take us on!

So, we await the morphology shortly and gear up for the 5th SA, with DNA fragmentation testing, on 11/25. I can't help but wonder...another hill or another drop? Either way, according to everything we've been told so far about the numbers we'd need for IUI vs. IVF, the latest numbers (especially the fact that they're pretty much in unison with the other 3, minor hopeful uptick notwithstanding) have IVF written all over them. *Sigh* or perhaps in keeping with the Sperm-O-Coaster theme, I should say *S-C-R-E-A-M*.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hug and Make Up

I'm much to say this week to get the blog caught up!  Let's start where I left off.  We do a lot of hugghing in my family.  It's not like we hug before leave the house; more like we hug before we leave a room.  The last time I purposely ignored my mom for longer than a few hours was probably when I was nine years old.  Last week I made it 2 days.

In the end, neither of us could stand it anymore.  And, as I imagined, it was mostly a misunderstanding.  Mostly.  To be fair, I think that Mom really does just see things a bit differently than us.  Though she thinks the clinical trial sort of gives us a pass on her rule, she also thinks that only a year of trying is probably too soon to be asking anyone for help.  Some of you may agree.  And, that's ok.  But, on this point we're all just going to have to agree to disagree.  Our point on the subject is the same as some of you that commented on the last post...delaying the first IVF try only decreases the odds.  The longer we wait, the more likely that the problems were facing increase (my AMH/FSH, for example...which we're still waiting on the results of).  We're also looking at it a bit like "what's the worst that could happen from asking?" especially when such wonderful things possibly come as a result of asking. 

I guess it just comes down to that we're not going to let pride get in the way of starting our family.  That's not to say that we take it lightly or that asking comes easy.  We don't and it doesn't.

So, just to be clear.  My mom is not like the many other people in our lives right now who doesn't get it and doesn't try.  Mom tries and most of the time she gets it right.  She just happened to be having a really bad day on the same day that I was having a pretty darn bad day.  It happens...and we cut the people we love some slack because 99.9% of the time they get it right.  Love you Mom! answer your question on this clinical trial I keep talking about, here's the info.  Our RE is currently the only one in the Metroplex participating in IVF trials.  The one they're currently accepting patients for is testing a subcutaneous version of progesterone for after the ET.  Because it's testing the progesterone and not the stims, the discount isn't huge, but it's enough to make it worth our while.  Two minor catches...1) The trial is wrapping up in the next "few" months (no one can really say when because it's at the drug company's discretion); 2) I have to lose 7-8 pounds in short order for us to secure our spot...assuming we can pay for it in the first place.
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